A Mother’s Day Guide for Dads

mother's day guide

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Welcome gentlemen! I’ll be up front. This Mother’s Day Guide for dads is not a “buy this,” “go to this particular restaurant” kind of guide. I don’t know your wife, probably. How would I know what she wants? What I do know is this: moms have a lot on their plate. We get crap from everyone – you guys included. Working moms get judged, stay-at-home moms get looked down on, and that’s just the start. I’m personally a work-at-home mom who will either say “I do a little bookkeeping from the house,” or “I’m a small business owner” depending on who I’m talking to.  Seriously, I do that.  I’m ashamed both of working and of being at home. Thanks, society!

So, why does that matter to you? Here’s the deal. Once a year, one measly day a year, you should acknowledge how much work the mother of your child does, and how much pressure the world puts on her to be the perfect mom. I’d like to think this is not an issue and every dad knows Mother’s Day is a big deal. Unfortunately, after speaking with some friends, I discovered their husbands don’t even acknowledge it’s a holiday. Yet, the women would rather celebrate Mother’s Day than Valentine’s Day. Makes you think, huh? My own husband, thankfully, would not dare to forget such a holiday…. for me. His own mom, on the other hand, gets a card. That’s about it. I have to FaceTime her so she can see her grandson. Her own son may or may not participate on the call. That brings me to my first point.

Mother’s Day Guide

Part 1. Don’t forget your mom.

Fellas, seriously, don’t forget your moms! They birthed you. They deserve some acknowledgment too. If my son grows up and decides not to call me, I will be hunting him down and forcing a family dinner upon him, or even worse if he’s moved far away. Like, a week-long visit  where I just nag him the whole time. That’s right. Don’t forget Mom or you will feel her wrath! You can start with a card. A call is better.

Now, I don’t know your relationship with your mother. Maybe a gift isn’t warranted. Maybe you will be having a fabulous brunch with her and your siblings. That part is all up to you. Just don’t forget completely.  I will say, if you’re going to go with a generic gift, do it for your mom, and not for your children’s mom. I would pick something like a picture frame. Here’s one I like for newer grandmas. Or here’s a mug that could work for any grandma. I don’t own either of these, obviously, since I’m not a grandma, but they are both things I’ve picked up for my mom. They’re really simple gifts, and they’re probably fine for your mom too. The difficulty comes in deciding what to do for your woman…

Part 2. Spoil your wife.

I was going to write  wives/girlfriends/etc., but it looked silly. Don’t get offended. Family dynamics are all different, and I don’t particularly care if you’re married to your child’s mom or not. But, if you’re together, this mother’s day guide says you should be doing something for her. If you’re not together and your child asks for help, you should probably also be doing something for her. Unfortunately, that’s not something that I can help you with, as my child is too small to attempt any sort of gift giving. So, first question. Do you have to give a gift? Well, again, I don’t pretend to speak for other women on this subject. But…

If she says no flowers, don’t buy flowers.

No means no, guys.

Women occasionally play games (sorry ladies – but you know they know this). Telling you she doesn’t want flowers isn’t one of them. Some women really like flowers, and others really hate getting them. I’m pro-flower, but I get the anti-flower sentimentality. They can cost an awful lot of money and they don’t last very long. That’s why some women would rather have you hand them $40 or whatever you were going to spend than get that bouquet delivered. Now, me, I’d wind up spending the money on groceries or something, so I’d rather get a nice $8 bouquet from Kroger or whatever and not feel like I blew my gift on household necessities I would have gotten anyway. You don’t have to guess about this one. If your wife hasn’t ever told you whether she likes flowers or not, just ask.

Take over the chores.

See a block, pick up a block.

Yeah, I know this one sucks. But as a mom, one who does 95% of the household chores and has to listen to her husband whine about the other 5%, I can tell you it’s a biggie. I know some dads are already awesome at doing the chores. Kudos to them. But, I’m guessing those dads either aren’t the ones who need to read this, or they’re reading this Mother’s Day guide for dads for some other reason. So listen up messy dads. You don’t have to do anything crazy. The house doesn’t have to be spick and span. What would your wife be doing? Maybe a quick vacuum? Dishes? Go ahead and take over her responsibilities, and take it over without asking (unless it’s laundry and you’ve been told specifically not to do it – then ask first). Then, if you can handle it, wait to complain until she’s not in your presence. Perfect!

Alone time is important, but not for everyone.

mother's day guide
Ah, the before noon pile.

Working moms have it tough. They have to do their jobs away from their kids and help out the household. Stay-at-home moms also have it tough. They have to watch the crazies all day, clean up, cook, and do it all without adult interaction so they start to lose their minds. I could absolutely see working moms wanting to see their kids, but stay-at-home moms wanting to get out of the house. I have no evidence to back that up, but you can probably tell if your wife needs a break. If you can’t, ask questions like, “Hey, want me to take the kids while I run some errands?” or “Do you think it’d be a good time for a family outing?” Maybe she’d like time to rest, or maybe she’d prefer a trip to the zoo where you push the strollers and deal with the gift shop.

Regardless of whether your wife wants to get away from her delightful family or not, at the very least, if you have a little one, take over diaper duty for the day. Some women might not mind doing chores, but NO ONE wants to do diapers.  I admit, this mother’s day guide is skewed more towards younger parents since my friends and I aren’t parents of teenagers yet, but if you are, there’s probably a fill-in for diaper duty. Perhaps you could sit and listen to your teenagers tell awful stories about the high school mean girls or be the one who has to nag them for two hours just to come out of their bedrooms? Those sound like things a mom would like to get out of for a day.

Most importantly…..Just Listen to her.

None for me, thanks.

What? The most important thing is not to buy her fancy jewelry or send her to the spa? Nope. Because not all women want those things. Let me tell you a little story about my birthday. I know this is a Mother’s Day guide, but it’s the same principle. First, let me point out I’m not complaining. I’m just explaining why my husband thought he was going to get  a, “Wow!” and what he really got was an, “It’s the thought that counts.” On the morning of my birthday he woke up early to cook me breakfast – bacon and pancakes. Sounds nice right? Here’s three reasons why it wasn’t:

  1. I don’t like pancakes.
  2. I can’t stand the smell of bacon while pregnant, which I am.
  3. For two months before my birthday, all I talked about was wanting to sleep in. He had to wake me up at 5:00 A.M. to give me this breakfast.

So, nice thought? Absolutely, and I ate my burnt pancakes and terrible smelling bacon with a smile. But the thing is, he wasn’t thinking about what would be nice for me. He was thinking about what would be nice for women in general. If you take anything out of this mother’s day guide, it should be to think about your wife, not any old woman. If she won’t tell you what she wants, don’t go pool the office ladies who don’t know her. Think about what she likes to do, whether she’s been tired a lot lately, whether she’s been hinting at something she likes, and if she’s had any complaints. Too much trouble? Then good luck with those generic gift guides!

 

13 thoughts on “A Mother’s Day Guide for Dads

    • Beth Davidson says:

      He doesn’t read it very often – or anything that hasn’t been assigned to him by school. But, he knows my version of the birthday present story already. He’s going to make waffles next time. 🙂

  1. I’m not a Mum but I would be happy with flowers, I don’t see the need to go all out with expensive things. Although I would probably appreciate having the chores done and probably a meal cooked as long as the kitchen wasn’t left in a mess 😄

  2. Listening is super important. Although as a divorced parent it’s not exactly the same thing. I try to do something nice for my mother. But I also make sure that my daughter gets something nice for her mother and does something special for her. I try to encourage that no matter what her mother does about my day. It’s important to encourage her and be an example to her of what it is to be a good person.

    • Beth Davidson says:

      That’s really nice of you, especially since there are so many married dads who don’t put in any effort. It will definitely make your daughter better at appreciating the people in her life.

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